Alert Thingy v1.1: Better, Somewhat

closeThis post was published 12 years 1 month 19 days ago. A number of changes have been made to the site since then, so please contact me if anything is broken or seems wrong.

Yesterday, when Alert Thingy for FriendFeed came out at v1.0, there was a lot of buzz in the FriendFeed community (two examples) about all the things that were annoying about the program. The developers listened to the feedback and drew up a list, getting up early this morning to implement the highest-priority requests. It was released not too long ago — not more than an hour.

First and foremost, the new version can be made opaque. The translucency was very annoying to read sometimes; I personally have twhirl set to be opaque when active, and I would love to have Alert Thingy eventually support going semi-transparent when it doesn’t have focus. For now, I’m happy to have it opaque.

Second, comments are now collapsed by default, like the site. It seems that only the three most recent comments are shown, though; the first few are omitted. Since Alert Thingy’s purpose is to bring new stuff to light, only showing recent comments works fine. They can be expanded out to the full thread by clicking a link to the right of “Like” and “Comment”.

Aside from those, the only other change I’ve noticed so far is a tweak to the comment tag line. It now appends “…via AlertThingy” instead of “(via Alert Thingy)”. I do wonder about the removal of the space; whether or not it was intentional isn’t obvious.

If the app is going to be updated daily or (more realistically) weekly for the next several releases, that will make for quick iteration and speedy implementation of requested features.

I actually noticed something new with this version. I’m pretty sure it was a bug in the previous release. Time stamps are in the wrong timezone; I get times five hours ahead of where I’m at now. Alert Thingy must use UTC for everything, rather than reading an offset from the system. It’s tolerable; I’m used to UTC times from Wikipedia.

And one more thing, now that I remember. I was playing a full-screen game this morning when Alert Thingy popped up and stole focus. I’m not sure about the status of that in the new version. I’ll keep an eye out for it.

Well, that’s it for now. I’ll bet howard/baines has more coming. I’m probably not anywhere near being done blogging about Alert Thingy.

Update (11:39): Focus-stealing has indeed been fixed. Confirmed a few moments ago using the same game as this morning.


I am an avid technology and software user, in addition to being reasonably well-versed in CSS, JavaScript, HTML, PHP, Python, and (though it still scares me) Perl. Aside from my technological tendencies, I am also a theatre technician, sound designer, violinist, singer, and actor.

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